The TimeHop app just showed me that exactly one year ago, No Filter had its Press Preview, its first public performance, and my book Remnants was made available online.
Wow. So it’s been a year.
My book barely made a dent. It didn’t do as well as I had hoped or planned. I underestimated the e-book buying public or the poetry market. I probably sold less than 50 copies and half of that is from family, so it doesn’t count. I was expecting a bit more. I was hoping to at least hit three digits but I’m still glad it’s out there. I guess after so many years and finally having enough material to put a collection out, you really think that would amount to something bigger.
But Remnants really sank without a trace. It had two good reviews but that was just it and it sort of just sat there picking up a new purchase once or twice every month. I really should learn how to do this social media marketing thing. I don’t have the head for it.
No Filter, on the other hand, continued on to sold out shows and an extension of two more performances (also sold out) and then a short break before we struck while the iron was still hot and put out No Filter 2.0, which was bigger and better. We had new material, bigger cast, and a larger venue. We bonded and have remained friends since, meeting up when we can and supporting each other’s new endeavors. And next month? We’re coming out with a book. That’s going to be awesome.
I’m trying to figure out exactly what the learning is here because when I saw on TimeHop what an important and significant day this is, I felt something surge inside of me. Like, I felt that if I did it once, I could do it again. Something of the sort.
Do I consider No Filter a success? Yes, I do. We just set out to do something new and different and exciting. We set out to make engaging and interesting theater. We didn’t set out to make statements but to present ideas and questions and from the whole experience we got aspects of the truth. We got reactions and engagement from our audience and even from people who weren’t our audience and that’s fine. As long as we got people talking, right? We put something out there and people responded to it and we had an amazing, wonderful time doing it.
That, for me, is what made the whole experience successful. Yes, I’m super happy that The Sandbox Collective made a profit. Yes, I’m super happy that we sold out our second and third weekend and had to add more chairs to the theater to accommodate more people but it’s the reactions of everyone who saw it that made it all worthwhile. It is how it changed us.
That’s art. We set out to do engaging theater and we found ourselves making art. And we were able to do it again.
Do I consider Remnants a failure, then? No, I don’t. I didn’t set out to have a bestseller or to win awards. I didn’t set out to put out my poems in such a public sphere with the intention of being loved by all. I set out to put a book, a collection, and to finally release myself from the dark thoughts of my history. I was hoping to connect, which I did. I have connected to a few people with the book. I wish it were more but I’m happy that I was able to connect with someone and there have been. They were kind enough to tell me so.
I put that collection together so that I could tell myself that it can be done and that all those years of writing poetry and reading poetry and studying it and figuring out what it all means lead to something. I did it so I could tell myself that I could; it may take time but I have it in me.
I conquered that fear and now I want to do it again and that was the whole point, along with the very few connections that I’ve made through it.
Today is an important day for me. Today, last year, I gave myself to permission to identify myself as an artist. I am an artist and I have a body of work to prove it.
That’s why July 24 is an important day for me.
That’s when I began.